Senators Risa Hontiveros, Koko Pimentel pay tribute to former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

IMAGE Mark Atienza

Sen. Koko Pimentel on what he learned from the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago: "If I were to summarize what I've learned from my teacher's life and example, it would be that diligence, intelligence, articulateness, involvement, and courage lead to relevance in our people's lives and their eternal remembrance of our life's works."


Kabilang ang mga senador na sina Risa Hontiveros at Koko Pimentel sa mga nagbigay-pugay sa yumaong dating senadora na si Miriam Defensor-Santiago sa necrological service na ginanap nitong nakaraang Sabado ng gabi, October 1.

Ang nasabing misa ay naganap sa Immaculate Conception Cathedral sa Cubao, Quezon City at dinaluhan ng malalapit na kamag-anak, kaibigan, at katrabaho ng dating senadora.

Isa rin sa nagbigay ng kanyang eulogy ang Kapuso actress na si Heart Evangelista-Escudero.

Read: Heart Evangelista to Sen. Miriam: 'Goodbye... until we meet again.'

THE STUDENT. Sa kanyang eulogy, binalikan ni Sen. Koko Pimentel ang mga araw noong maging professor nito sa isang kurso si former senator Miriam noong nag-aaral pa ito sa University of the Philippines-College of Law.

Noong mga panahong ito ay nanunungkulan bulang immigration commissioner si Miriam at marami umano ang nagtatangka sa buhay nito.

Sa kanyang speech, sinabi ni Sen. Koko na excited ito noong malaman niyang si Miriam ang kanyang magiging guro sa Constitutional Law, ngunit inamin din nitong natakot din siya at naging "apprehensive."

Kuwento ni Sen. Koko, "We were all nervous when we started out class with her. Senator Miriam challenged us to do our best, even making us memorize the Bill of Rights, word for word. The mid-term exam was pick a number and then recite the section of Bill of Rights corresponding to that number. We really learned a lot from her."

Ibinahagi ni Sen. Koko na isang efficient professor si Miriam dahil nagawa nitong ituro ang kanilang mga aralin para sa semester na iyon. Dagdag pa nito, naging magaan din daw ang loob ng mga estudyante sa kanya matapos ang kanilang sem.

Aniya, "By the end of the semester, we were all at ease with her. She helped us be at ease in class by cracking jokes. Alam na alam niyo po yung kanyang mga one-liners. But most of all, she was kind and fair that’s why we were all happy with our grades as these were fair grades."

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Dagdag pa nito, "Fortunately for the Filipino people, she didn’t limit herself to the academe. She answered the call of duty: RTC [Regional Trial Court] judge, Immigration commissioner, Secretary of Agrarian Reform, Senator, a justice of the International Criminal Court. But regardless of her title and position, she remained a teacher at heart. By personal example, she taught and inspired everyone around her to do better."

Naging matulungin din daw si former senator Miriam sa mga kabaro nito lalo na sa mga baguhang senador. Malaki rin daw ang naiambag ng dating senadora kay Sen. Koko sa pagkapanalo nito sa 2013 elections.

Aniya, "Senator Miriam was always warm and helpful to the younger senators. In 2013, my candidacy got a boost when she endorsed me for senator. I owe Sen. Miriam a debt of gratitude. It was also a great honor for me to receive the endorsement of my teacher."

Isa sa maituturing na most-treasured memory ni Sen. Koko kay Miriam ay ang pagiging malapit nito sa kabataan.

Aniya, "Senator Miriam left her greatest mark on our youth. She did not confine her advice and maternal guidance to the classroom or to the senate premises. She reached out to the youth, wherever they maybe.

"For Sen. Miriam, everything and every occasion can be a teaching moment. She took a personal interest in the Filipino youth’s welfare as can be seen on her advocacy and authored laws."

"A couple of days ago, I said Sen. Miriam was the best president we never had. But I think, Ma’am Miriam would prefer to be remembered as the best teacher we ever had. Every one of us here was her student and we are all the better for it. She inspired us all. We may say farewell to her but not to lessons she taught us.

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Pagtatapos ni Sen. Koko, "And if I were to summarize what I’ve learned from my teacher’s life and example, it would be that diligence, intelligence, articulateness, involvement, and courage lead to relevance in our people’s lives and their eternal remembrance of our life’s works."

THE "MENOPAUSAL INSECT." Maituturing naman ni Sen. Risa na "extremely challenging task" ang pagsulat ng eulogy para sa tinaguriang Asia's Iron Lady. Maituturing ni Sen. Risa na "quintessential Filipina politician" si Miriam.

Paliwanag nito, "She served all three branches of the Philippine government—judicial, executive, and legislative. An icon of Constitutional Law, she became the first Filipina and the first Asian from a developing country to be elected a judge of the International Criminal Court.

"She’s also a fearless politician who ate death threats for breakfast, who could shred you to pieces with her sharp legal acumen, and who could call out stupidity as she saw it.

"She also the only national leader, I know so far, who can dish out pick-up lines with such eloquence, wit, and humor that will give the best of our comedians a run for their money."

Napasalamat din si Sen. Risa sa yumaong senador sa masugid nitong pagtulong upang maitaguyod ang RH Law sa kalagitnaan ng sakit nito.

Kuwento ni Sen. Risa, "I will, however, best remember Sen. Miriam as the courageous champion of women’s rights. She as one of our staunchest supporters in the passage of the Reproductive Health Law.

"With her on our side, we weathered enormous obstacles to the law’s passing. She never, never left us even when she, herself was battling cancer.

"She was with us throughout the struggle. With a broader movement for women’s health, we share the victory of having given ordinary Filipino women the right of our bodies and the power to determine the welfare of our families."

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Binalikan din ng senadora ang isang komento ni former Senator Miriam sa kanya noong isang beses na tila hindi sila magkasang-ayon sa isang bagay. Kuwento ni Sen. Risa, tinawag daw siya nitong "menopausal insect."

Ang bagay na ito ay tinawanan na lang daw ni Sen. Risa.

Aniya, "I laughed out loud and I have always treasured that classic ‘Mirianism’ in my heart. I always thought of her as a fellow woman and fellow legislator and after that unscientific insult, she never mentioned it again especially during the long hard battle for the RH Bill."

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